Jimmy Neutron (voice of Debi Derryberry) is a little kid with a big brain. He also has understanding parents who give him the liberty to exercise his inventive streak. To a point. They don’t mind that their basement is full of gadgets that would have NASA astrophysicists scratching their heads, but when Jimmy’s backpack rocket causes domestic havoc, his mum (voice of Megan Cavanagh) grounds him. But even a genius wouldn’t want to miss the opening of a new fun-park, so Jimmy puts his smarts and sneaks out. While he’s out, his communications system finally makes contact with extra-terrestrials who kidnap not only Jimmy's parents, but all the parents in Retroville. Now, only Jimmy’s bulging brain, with a little help from his robotic dog Goddard (voice of Frank Welker), best friend Carl (voice of Rob Paulsen) and their other school chums, can save the day.
Review by Louise Keller:
A compelling fantasy with colourful, cucumber-cool characters, Jimmy Neutron, is a bright, fresh adventure with plenty of zip that the whole family can enjoy. Director and screenwriter John A. Davis has been cogitating the notion of Jimmy Neutron and his unique world since the 80s, and Nickelodeon plans to take this fun character with a shock of hair that looks like a soft serve of ice-cream, into the realm of multi-media – on television, in the movies, online, in video games and in magazines. Much of the appeal of Jimmy Neutron lies in the character itself. A 10 year old genius with an over-sized head, he is still one of the kids, and can't avoid the usual problems at school and at home. After all, even geniuses are not allowed out on school nights. It's a clever script that doesn't allow his genius to alienate him from his school pals; they simply rib him when his ideas go askew. I like the fact that he uses every day items for his scientific experiments – items like toasters make great satellites. Using plenty of smarts, Jimmy uses his genius for not only the big inventions, but also to help him get through the day: I am very envious of the gadgets that are programmed to do his hair, brush his teeth, tie his shoes and make his bed. There's even a gadget that eliminates the smell of school! Then there's his robotic dog Goddard, who explodes when told to play dead and leaves metal screw droppings at the door. Unlike feature-length animations such as Shrek, which use top stars to voice the characters, Jimmy Neutron relies on the charm of the characters and veteran voice-over actors to inhabit them. Stylised animation with dramatic theatrical and colourful lighting, the film has a timeless quality, incorporating a compelling mix of retro and contemporary design. Add a toe-tapping soundtrack, a concise and imaginative script and we are flying through space with Jimmy and his friends. Yep, this is rocket science, and the scene when Jimmy, the Ferris wheel, giant octopus and rollercoaster soar through space is surrealism in a jewelled necklace. There's little to offend anyone – the burping soda is as close as it gets.
Review by Brad Green:
James Isaac Neutron (aka Jimmy Neutron) is more like a cross between Thomas Alva Edison and the whiz kid from War Games, than his almost-namesake, the English physicist. Jimmy struggles with all the day-to-day issues of your average, computer age, pre-pubescent invent-aholic. What to do when the shrink ray you’ve brought in for show and tell doesn’t work? Or your jet propulsion backpack spins out of control in the lounge room, and suddenly instead of flying all over town you’re grounded by your parents? More importantly, what do you do when you forget that your parents’ advice about not talking to strangers includes a prohibition on making contact with extra-terrestrials, who then come and kidnap (or is it parentnap?) your parents, and all your friends’ parents, as tasty human sacrifice for their ravenous chicken god? Put your mighty brain to work and save them of course. This is an animation that’s as fun and predictable as its basic premise. The characters are designed as a compendium of plastic-looking moving parts, and even their exaggerated head-shapes are amusing, with Jimmy’s elongated forehead contrasting with the turnip face of his gentle if dull-witted buddy Carl. Every prodigious protagonist needs an alien antagonist and Patrick Stewart hams it up from here to planet Goobot as the voice of the green, ovate and affected alien king. We know it’s going to be no contest between an alien egg and a boy egg-head, but even a genius sometimes needs a little help from his robotic dog, and Neutron has a digital mutt with more charisma in his automated tail than in every circuit of Doctor Who’s K9. Aimed primarily at the pre-teens, it’s easy for even the oldies to get a smile out of this unambitious animation. It might feature a genius, but you don’t have to think too hard to enjoy his adventure.
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SOUNDTRACK REVIEW by Brad Green
JIMMY GOES TO THE OSCARS
JIMMY NEUTRON (G)
VOICES: Debi Derryberry, Patrick Stewart, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Megan Cavanagh, Mark Decarlo, Jeff Garcia, Carolyn Lawrence, Candi Milo, Rob Paulsen, Crystal Scales, Frank Welker
PRODUCER: John A. Davis, Steve Oedekerk, Albie Hecht
DIRECTOR: John A. Davis
SCRIPT: David N. Weiss & J. David Stem
EDITOR: Gregory Perler, Jon Price
MUSIC: John Debney
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Fred Cline
OTHER: ART DIRECTION: James Beihold
RUNNING TIME: 81 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 28, 2002 (Melbourne, Brisbane); April 11 (Sydney/Adelaide/Perth)